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Pacific Grove California - Travel Articles

A Unique Inn - Martine Inn - Pacific Grove, California

Article by: Norm Goldman
Paintings by: Lily Azerad-Goldman

Pacific Grove was originally a Methodist Church retreat in the 1870s. Today, it is known as the seaside village with a quiet demure hometown atmosphere.

There are many reasons to visit here: the views of the rocky coastline of Monterey Bay are spectacular, Point Pinos Lighthouse -California's oldest working lighthouse, an award-winning natural history museum, an 18-hole golf course, and Asilomar State Beach and Park.

It is also very close to Monterey's Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and California's first outlet center located in the renovated tinnery which supplied the cans for the sardine industry on historic Cannery Row in neighboring Monterey between 1921 and 1946. You will be surprised at the bargains you can pick up at the outlet, as my wife Lily can confirm!

Even noble-prize winning author John Steinbeck enjoyed many childhood memories in the area and in fact he used these locations in his novels Tortilla Flat and Grapes of Wrath. It is also the resting stop for Monarch Butterflies that every year flock to Pacific Grove from as far away as 2,000 miles away to escape harsh winter weather.

To enjoy all this and more, a stay at the Martine Inn is a must where you will be enchanted with the past, pampered by the staff and inspired to return shortly.

When we recently visited the Martine Inn we had occasion to spend many an hour walking on the recreational trail that runs along Monterey Bay across the street from the Martine Inn. The trail runs for about one mile from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Lovers Point. The section within Pacific Grove is part of a recreation trail network which runs from Marina to Pacific Grove and where you will find separate walking and cycling paths.

As we meandered along the trail, we were overwhelmed with its dazzling views and the fresh and salty breezes, often pausing to watch and listen to the sounds of the harbor seals, sea otters and sea lions, appreciating just how fortunate we were to have discovered Pacific Grove and this boutique inn.

It was surprising to learn from some of the locals that Pacific Grove has more Victorian houses per capita than any other city in America.

The Martine Inn is one such home that was built in 1899 and subsequently acquired by Laura and James Parke of Park Davis Pharmaceuticals in 1901. As Laura was quite a socialite, who entertained a great deal, many pioneers of California's early society passed through the doors of this enchanting house.

In 1972 the Parke estate sold the property to its present owner Don Martine who has fully renovated the grand mansion maintaining, however, certain features as the fixtures, turn of the nineteenth century antiques-including push button switches, claw foot tubs, brass fixtures, marble sinks and other elements. Don has also paid careful attention to the restoration of the mansion's fine Victorian interior by removing paint from the mahogany and oak trims, as well as stripping and refinishing the inland oak and mahogany floors. He also added a game room and spa to the inn.

In addition, the inn now showcases over thirty early California landscape oil paintings that include many of the great plein air painters. After having a glimpse at some of these paintings, we were able to have a good idea as to how the Monterey Peninsula appeared through the eyes of these great artists almost 100 years ago.

In fact, James Parke's sister, Sally, was among these artists, and she lived in a home constructed for her on the family compound. You can spot several of her paintings on display throughout the inn.

We also had a peek at some of the inn's 24 bedrooms which all differ in colors, wall coverings, fabrics and furniture designs. As was pointed out to us, furnishings have been carefully selected to fit the style, size and ambience of each of the rooms. Don searched high and low for some great bedroom suites to place into the bedrooms and he has been successful in securing several of which one belonged to Academy Award recipient and renowned costume designer, Edith Head.

This 1920's American walnut Hoof footed 9-piece bedroom set suite was placed in the room named after her and where we stayed. The room also contains several other interesting antiques as well as a 5 foot claw foot tub with shower including rare case iron base and a1950's European China pedestal sink with pattern. As is the case with all guest's room, there was a rose in a Victorian silver vase, luxurious bath towels and bed linen. All which enhanced its romantic ambience.

Just in passing, Don is an avid vintage car collector and he has some dandy MG's on display at the inn and in his nearby restoration shop, where he restores these cars and builds race engines for race-cars. It was amazing to check out some of these rare cars that were put back into tip-top shape!

Complimentary breakfast is served in the dining room and fresh baked delicious cookies, coffee and tea are always available. We appreciated how the inn is large enough so that you can remain anonymous if you choose to be, yet small enough making it quite easy to strike up a conversation with other guests.


As an added feature, The Martine Inn prides itself as being a great wedding venue and they have on staff an experienced wedding consultant for advising, organizing and coordinating the more than fifty weddings that take place at the inn during a year. The location of weddings varies in accordance with the number of attendees. These range from the landscape courtyard, the library with the fireplace and inlaid, hardwood dance floor, the parlor with fireplace and unbelievable ocean view, the party room with courtyard view, the dining room with ocean view to the sitting room with ocean view.

Food is freshly prepared in the inn's own kitchen drawing on traditional creations as well as many recipes from the original 1880s White House Cookbooks. Among the possible choices are Teriyaki Salmon with fresh Pineapple Salsa and Filet Mignon in a Red Wine Reduction.

Meals are served on Victorian-style china, old Sheffield silver and crystal. Also available are champagne, a variety of wines, beer, sparkling cider, mineral water, carbonated drinks served by the bottle or fountain.


Martine Inn
255 Oceanview Blvd, Pacific Grove, Ca 93950-0330
Tel: 800-852-5588